European Court of Human Rights holds that refusal of a residence permit to a foreigner on the basis of his HIV-positive status was discriminatory

In its decision of 10 March 2011 in Kiyutin v. Russia (Application No. 2700/10), the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that the refusal of the Russian authorities to grant a residency permit to a national of Uzbekistan on the basis of his HIV-positive status was discriminatory.

Decision | 10 March 2011

In its decision of 10 March 2011 in Kiyutin v. Russia (Application No. 2700/10), the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that the refusal of the Russian authorities to grant a residency permit to a national of Uzbekistan on the basis of his HIV-positive status was discriminatory. The Court found that the refusal constituted a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights (read in conjunction with Article 8 on the protection of home and family life).

The applicant, a national of Uzbekistan, had been living in Russia since 2003 and is married to a Russian national, with whom he had a child. Upon application for a residence permit, he underwent a medical examination and tested positive for HIV. His application was then refused on the basis of a legal provision precluding the issuance of residency permits to HIV-positive non-nationals.

In its ruling, the Court noted that people living with HIV represented a vulnerable group in society which had been discriminated against in many ways in the past. The court noted that HIV-related travel restrictions were not imposed on tourists or short-term visitors or Russian nationals. It observed that the mere presence of an HIV-positive individual in the country did not constitute a threat to public health and that the selective imposition of HIV-related travel restrictions only on foreigners seeking residence were not justified. The Court found that Mr. Kiyutin had been a victim of discrimination on the basis of his health status in violation of Article 14, together with Article 8, and held that he was entitled to 15,000 euros in damages.

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